RIP: Donna Morrissey dies of COVID-19

May 26, 2020

Sad news over the weekend.  American Red Cross executive and former Archdiocesan spokesperson and cabinet secretary for PR and communications, Donna Morrisssey, died of COVID-19 at the age of 51. Updated-COVID-19 update 5/23/20: Cape woman, TV spokeperson dies ...

After leaving the RCAB in 2003, Morrissey, a native of Newton, MA worked at the American Red Cross for 17 years as its director of communications for the Northeast Division. She was also the director of national partnerships for American Red Cross Biomedical Services at the time of her death.

“Donna was a dedicated, kind and talented humanitarian who, over her many years with our organization, worked daily to encourage the need for lifesaving blood donations while also deploying to numerous large-scale disasters and mass casualty events including Superstorm Sandy, Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Pulse Nightclub shooting, and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, to name a few,” the American Red Cross said in a statement. “She never hesitated to do whatever she could to help those in need during their most devastating moments, whether that was a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on.”

Prior to joining the American Red Cross, Morrissey worked for the Boston Archdiocese as its cabinet secretary for public relations and communications for two years. During her tenure as a spokeswoman, Morrissey worked the first 16 months of the clergy sex abuse scandal that affected the Boston Archdiocese. She was also the first lay female and youngest member to be appointed cabinet secretary for the archdiocese.

“It’s been very challenging,” Morrissey said in a March 2003 speech to the Boston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America on working during the sex abuse scandal. “There’s times when I go home and … I cry and sob.”

UPDATE: A funeral Mass will be held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Friday at 11am. A Red Cross caravan tribute rally will begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at the Cathedral prior to the funeral.

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

May her souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


When Will Archdiocese of Boston Reopen Churches?

May 18, 2020

After a long break, we decided to dust off the keyboard and say something about the great news that Gov. Baker and the State of Massachusetts are allowing houses of worship to reopen, albeit with some new conditions and precautions.  The big question is when the administrative bureaucracy at the Pastoral Center are going to make it happen.  Will they move quickly or drag their feet?

3pm ET UPDATE: There was some evidence they were going to drag their feet, but since going live with our post, we have seen very fast movement that had to have been in progress in the past few days.  Read on for more on that.

First, kudos and appreciation to all who participated in yesterday’s peaceful prayer rally around Holy Cross Cathedral asking Cardinal O’Malley to restore public Masses.

More importantly, now that we have the green light from Gov. Baker, here are the key guidelines:

  • Houses of worship can only accept 40 percent of the total capacity of a given building. Building staff will be in charge of enforcing the occupancy limit.
  • All attendees, except those under age 2, must wear a face covering
  • Anyone who is not wearing a face covering should be turned away
  • Worshipers can group together if they are from the same household, but must stand 6 feet apart otherwise.
  • Fixed seating, like church pews, should be closed off to keep distance between worshipers.

These seem all readily doable.  The planning council also recommended “best practices” for houses of worship, like making hand sanitizer available, and not passing around collection baskets during a service. For Catholic churches, the guidelines recommend that priests hand out pre-packaged communion wafers. [BCI comment – we don’t know how this one could possibly work – pre-packaging the precious Body of Christ in shrink-wrap plastic?!]

Why did the State of MA allow this, you may be asking?  Well, besides it being the right thing to do, they also faced legal action.  A Worcester Baptist pastor sued Gov. Baker. and as described in this Federalist.com post, Catholic mother and grandmother, Carol Mckinley filed a legal complaint on April 30  with the MA State Department of Justice alleging Baker’s executive orders violate the First Amendment.

“Baker took it upon himself to change the definition of religion and the reception of Sacraments from a First Amendment right to a non-essential business or “social gathering,” making the salvation of our immortal souls constitutionally subordinate to the authority of the government.”

Lawsuits have been filed elsewhere in the country along the same lines, and the Department of Justice has sided with those in VA who said the state overstepped in their restrictions on religious gatherings.   If they didn’t open houses of worship on their own, they could have had courts force their hand.

Here in Boston, BCI has silently watched what’s going on with a lot of regret for what we feel are restrictions from the Boston Archdiocese that have gone beyond what has been necessary from a public health perspective.  For example, why are there no outdoor Masses permitted with appropriate social distancing?  Where have drive-through confessions or outdoor adoration of the Blessed Sacrament been allowed or encouraged?

Now with the State of MA allowing Masses to resume, where does the Archdiocese of Boston stand?  They’re holding a webinar on Tuesday for priests and diocesan staff at 1pm to talk about this more, but their language sounds pretty non-committal.  The invitation says,

The webinar follows the May 14th message from [Vicar General] Bishop Uglietto to parishes [which basically said you can’t do anything for a while] and will examine the specifics of the Governor’s report to discuss the implications for our own planning regarding the resumption of our ministries, schools and other pastoral activities when we are allowed to do so….I will be contacting the Diaconate Community Board once I receive a copy of the Archdiocesan Plan for Reopening so that we can begin to think about hot the diaconate community is affected by the plan and how we might be able to help our parishes implement it.”

Does this wording sound weak to you?  Why not say something like, “We’re beyond thrilled that Gov. Baker is now allowing public Masses again, and we can’t wait to get churches open as quickly as possible!  We’re excited to talk with you about everything we’re doing to help you re-open as early as this week or this weekend so you can start making the sacraments available again to the faithful as quickly as possible.”

UPDATE: An email from the Vicar General just went out giving specific details for parishes about how to get ready to re-open.  That’s excellent news!  Kudos to the RCAB for pivoting quickly from their previous position.

 

 

 

 


Boston Late 2018 Recap

January 9, 2019

Belated Happy New Year!  There were a few hot news items in late December, and with Advent and Christmas being a particularly busy time of year, we just didn’t get to write about them.  Still, since a number of readers sent these items our way, we wanted to catch-up on the backlog and give them a little bit of airtime and share BCI’s take on them.

Former St. Johns Seminary Rector, Msgr. Moroney is out

It comes as no surprise that he is the first “head to fall” in view of homosexual sexual harassment problems at the seminary.  The range of headlines is interesting:

In this post from September, (Is Cardinal O’Malley Whitewashing the Gay Scandal Investigation at SJS?) BCI shared that sources thought Msgr. Moroney would be out.  That’s now happened.  We also shared that also possibly out the door would be the Vice Rector as well as a faculty member disliked by some of the auxiliary bishops.  We expect the investigation to wrap-up soon, and more changes to follow.

We’re also sent a note to the investigation committee and suggested the following:

We hope that in your final report, you find a way of mentioning the ongoing issue of open homosexuality in the Boston presbyterate sending a contradictory message to seminarians and seminary faculty and leadership. How can Cardinal O’Malley expect to have a chaste seminary when he allows an openly homosexual ordained presbyterate?

Cardinal O’Malley Reports Cardinal Dolan to Papal Nuncio for Abuse Cover-up

On December 29, ChurchMilitant reported that Cardinal ‘Malley had reported a case of predatory homosexual sex abuse by a New York priest and the ensuing cover-up by New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan to the papal nuncio to the United States, Abp. Christophe Pierre.

In a letter dated Dec. 21, O’Malley alerted the nuncio to the case of Fr. Donald Timone, a priest of the archdiocese of New York, whom Dolan allowed to remain in active ministry — even calling him “remarkably tender and holy” in 2013 — after he knew of the credible allegations of sex abuse. 

The story about Timone broke in a New York Times article  which detailed that Dolan compensated two of Timone’s victims and allowed him to remain in active ministry, even as recently as this week. Cardinal O’Malley’s acknowledged in his letter to the nuncio that the story had just hit the mainstream media, saying, “today the New York Times has published an extensive report concerning the allegations against Rev. Timone.”

This initially appeared as a situation of one cardinal turning on another cardinal, and indeed to some extent, that is what’s happening; however, Cardinal O’Malley had no choice but to report this.  He told Catholic News Agency that he received a letter informing him about this in early November and he said he was too busy with travel to do anything about it until, coincidentally, the NY Times article hit, when he suddenly found himself with enough time to forward the letter to the U.S. papal nuncio.  Had O’Malley not reported this to the nuncio, he would have found himself with the exact same criticism he faced over the Cardinal McCarrick scandal–he received a letter about a grave situation and never did anything about it.  

The NY times has a well-established reputation now for “fake news.”  If the allegations of a cover-up of abuse are true, then it should have been reported to the nuncio.   But that said, Cardinal O’Malley and his staff are covering-up the Walter Cuenin abuse scandal, so Cardinal O’Malley is not exactly “lily-white” himself in this department.  


Baby Jesus in Cage at Boston’s St. Susanna Parish Migrant-Themed Nativity

December 7, 2018

An alert reader alerted BCI to this just reported by ChurchMilitant.

St. Susanna’s parish in Dedham has an immigration-themed nativity scene with the child Jesus in a cage. The parish is run by Fr. Steve Josoma, a priest with a notorious dissident, gay-friendly reputation, as BCI recently described in this post, Cardinal O’Malley’s Coddling of Homosexual Priests.

Migrant-Themed Nativity Featured at Pro-Gay Parish

You can view ChurchMilitant’s video here.  As reported by Church Militant, “the parish has erected a nativity scene in front of the church laden with pro-immigration imagery. Baby Jesus is held inside a cage, and the Magi are separated from the Holy Family by a plastic safety barrier. The cage is a reference to the social media firestorm that took place this summer when images surfaced in the media purporting to show migrant children separated from their parents and detained in cages.

The plastic barrier, meanwhile, is a reference to President Trump’s plan, in the works now, to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to deter illegal immigration. Next to the plastic barrier inside the crèche is a sign that states “Deportation.” Above the nativity scene is a banner asking the question, “Peace on earth?”

Saint Susanna’s pastor, Fr. Stephen Josoma, told Boston’s CBS affiliate WBZ News 4, “We try to take a picture of the world as it is, and to put it together with a Christmas message.”  Josoma also commented on immigration issues, saying, “If Jesus was about taking care of one another, then this is not the way to take care of one another.”

One concerned Catholic from the area wrote a letter to Fr. Josoma against the politicized use of a nativity scene. The letter argues that “using the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity to make political points is unbecoming and borders on sacrilege.”

“It does nothing to further the mission of the Church to save souls,” he continues, “and it belittles the Incarnation.”

The author of the letter goes on to write:

Advent is a penitential season of joyful expectations. Yet, St. Susanna’s nativity scene advoids Advent entirely to make political points. The Baby Jesus is not supposed to appear until Christmas, and certainly not in a cage. And, Father, if there were ever an Advent when the Church should be squarely focused on penitence, it is this Advent of 2018. In recent days, American dioceses have declared bankruptcy and chanceries have been raided by the police because ecclesial authorities have utterly failed to address the continuing evil of certain pederast priests, bishops and cardinals.

A copy of this letter was also sent to Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

As you can see in the BCI post linked above and as reported by ChurchMilitant, during Cardinal Law’s tenure, parishioners at St. Brendan’s in Dorchester had complained that Josoma was in an active gay relationship with Fr. Ron Coyne, another priest assigned to the parish. Their complaints reached the Holy See, and Josoma was sidelined for several years — until Cardinal O’Malley reinstated him to active ministry.

And in 2013, St. Susanna’s had plans to host Fr. Helmut Schuller, a well-known theological dissident from Austria as part of a U.S. tour by Fr. Schuller backed by  dissident groups like Call to Action, New Ways Ministry and the Women’s Ordination Conference. Cardinal O’Malley barred the event due to Fr. Schuller’s defiance of Catholic teachings.

BCI believes St. Susanna falls under the jurisdiction of Bishop Reed. Try dropping a line to Bishop Reed at 508-650-3545 or <reed(at)catholictv.org> as well Vicar General Bishop Uglietto <vicar_general@rcab.org>, and  to ask them to address this scandal.


Cardinal O’Malley & Boston. Aux. Bishop Fail to Correct Transgender-Advocating Pastor

November 12, 2018

In case you are wondering what Cardinal O’Malley and Aux. Bishop Robert Reed did in follow-up of learning this bombshell news, Boston Parish Promotes Transgender “Rights” and Men Accessing Women’s Bathrooms. the answer is simple.  Next to nothing.

In that October 24 post, we reported how St. Ignatius in Chestnut Hill, MA had a full-page letter from their transgender parish administrator in the October 21 bulletin pushing opposition to a ballot question that would have restored sanity in the state and repealed an absurd law saying it was OK for men to use women’s restrooms.  More than 500 people signed our Change.org petition asking Cardinal O’Malley to fire the pastor and ensure a correction was issued in the bulletin, and to also speak out and tell Massachusetts Catholics to vote No on ballot Question 3.

None of the Massachusetts bishops said a peep about Question 3, freely letting people commit a sin by voting to preserve the evil law, and it was defeated by a huge margin.  And, all the pastor at St Ignatius did under pressure was issue a lame clarification buried several pages into the Nov. 4 bulletin, essentially backing the previous message   Here’s what he said:

Dear Parishioners,
As you know, in the bulletin on October 21 on the bottom of Michael Sennett’s courageous and beautiful letter to the parish, there was a YES on Proposition 3 symbol. That was Michael’s personal, heartfelt plea to you, our parishioners.

Of course, as pastor, my duty is first and foremost to encourage parishioners to inform their own conscience and make decisions for themselves. Fr. James Keenan, S.J., a Boston College moral theologian, recently wrote in an article on “Conscience and Synod on Youth” referring to the teaching of his late mentor, Fr. Klaus Demmer, “the first moral task for the church is to teach loud and clear, early and often, that we each have a conscience…The second task is to remind us that we must form and follow our consciences.1

It is important, therefore, to clarify that my, or any of our parish staff ’s, endorsement of a particular candidate for elected office or our express desire for a vote for or against a given proposition or proposal is not to be taken as a reflection of an official position of the Church or the Archdiocese of Boston.

Let us honestly share with one another our views and feelings, respectfully listening and learning from each other, so that justice and the protection of human dignity from womb to tomb – our Gospel values – will win out in this and every time we exercise our democratic right to vote.

Please remember to vote on Tuesday.

Peace,
Fr. Joe

This is wrong in so many ways. All transgenders have (or had) gender dysphoria, which is most often caused by psychological issues which are treatable and should be treated. They need help. The pastor’s duty is to be a shepherd of souls, to help the souls under his care to avoid sin and get to heaven, not just to let people make up their own minds however they choose.  Can. 528 §1 says:

“The parish priest has the obligation of ensuring that the word of God is proclaimed  in its entirety to those living in the parish. He is therefore to see to it that the lay  members of Christ’s faithful are instructed in the truths of faith…With the collaboration of the faithful, he is to make every effort to bring the gospel message to those also who have given up religious practice or who do not profess the true faith.”

This pastor, Rev. Joseph Costantino, S.J., Pastor <pastor.st.ignatius@bc.edu> is doing the opposite of his duty.  And Cardinal O’Malley, Vicar General Bishop Peter Uglietto, and Aux. Bishop Robert Reed are looking the other way pretending nothing is wrong.  We would invite BCI readers to contact Bishop Uglietto <vicar_general@rcab.org>, and Bishop Reed at 508-650-3545 or <reed(at)catholictv.org> and let them know what you think of the inaction.  And pray for the pastor and parishioners.

St. John Chrysostum said “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.”  Does anyone believe this to not be the case here in Boston?

 


Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby: Three Reasons to vote No on Question 3

November 6, 2018

While Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley and the other spineless MA bishops let people be led into sin by not telling them to vote No on Question 3, and the Boston Pilot remained silent on the issue as well, at least we have the Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby putting himself out there with a courageous a voice of reason on the issue in his column yesterday, “Three reasons to vote No on Question 3.”  Here it is:


QUESTION 3 on the Nov. 6 ballot in Massachusetts asks voters whether they want to retain or repeal a 2016 state law that makes it illegal to discriminate against transgender people in places of public accommodation. That law specifies that any place with separate facilities for males and females, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, must allow access to individuals on the basis of their “gender identity,” regardless of their biological sex.

The measure doesn’t appear to be very contentious. If a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll released on Monday is correct, 68 percent of Massachusetts voters intend to vote Yes on Question 3, to keep the law on the books.

I’m with the 28 percent who plan to vote No. In my view, there are at least three reasons why the transgender-identity law was a mistake and should be rejected.

1. When anti-discrimination laws are expanded, freedom of association — a core human liberty — is infringed.
I oppose laws that force private businesses or organizations to serve customers or accept patrons against their will. Private vendors, employers, and places of public accommodation should have broad legal freedom to decide for themselves whom they wish to deal with. The only exception I support is banning discrimination based on race, since American law for so many generations mandated racial repression and discrimination. Otherwise, there should be no “protected” categories at all. Where liberty and free choice flourish, bigotry and xenophobia tend to recede. Society should rely on the power of markets and public sentiment to eliminate invidious discrimination, not the iron fist of regulators and prosecutors.

Granted, this is theoretical. The wholesale repeal of anti-bias statutes is not in the cards. But at least the pressure to expand those laws by adding more and more demographic groups to the already lengthy list of protected classes should be resisted.

Transgender individuals should always be treated with respect — that should go without saying. But Massachusetts should also respect its citizens’ freedom of association, and trust them to use their own judgment when gender identity is at issue.

2. Massachusetts has already shown that it can routinely accommodate transgender access — no law required.
Addressing Question 3 in a statement last Monday, the University of Massachusetts assured the “100,000 students, faculty, staff, and guests” who are on UMass campuses each day that regardless of the referendum result, bathrooms and changing facilities will continue to be open to anyone who wants to use them.

”We will retain our present policy on restroom and locker room access on our campuses by allowing transgender and gender-nonconforming students, faculty, staff, and guests to choose facilities consistent with their gender identity,” the statement said.

What is true of UMass is true of every establishment in Massachusetts: They can sort this out for themselves. Supporters of the Yes on 3 campaign include many of the largest corporations, sports teams, labor unions, police organizations, and colleges in the state. None of them needs Beacon Hill to tell them how to operate their bathrooms or other intimate spaces.

Everyone in Massachusetts goes to the bathroom, and 99.9 percent of the time, people use the facilities suited to their needs without causing problems for anyone else. They were doing so before the 2016 law was passed. They’ll do so if the law is overturned.

That leaves the 0.1 percent of instances when the presence of an anatomical male in a space meant for females does cause genuine distress, and leads to my third argument for voting No on Question 3:

3. The transgender-identity law ignores sensitive issues of privacy and vulnerability.
Opponents of the 2016 law didn’t mobilize to put this referendum on the ballot because they object to transgender people being served in coffee shops, bookstores, or hotels. The opposition is fueled solely by concern about the tiny fraction of cases in which the mismatch between someone’s bodily sex and gender identity is not only obvious, but makes women or girls uneasy.

Such cases may be rare, but they are real. In December 2017, a biological male who identifies as a woman sought out a women’s spa in Milton for a “full Brazilian” waxing. When the spa was unwilling to perform a pubic waxing on a customer with male genitalia, the customer filed a complaint under the public accommodations law with the Attorney General’s office. (The complaint was withdrawn before the case went to litigation.)

When the Legislature added “gender identity” to the public accommodations law, it could have exempted private spaces that are routinely segregated by sex. Its refusal to do so is the sole reason the law is now being challenged. The 2016 law rides roughshod over the discomfort, reserve, and modesty of women and girls at the presence of male bodies in a place meant for females only.

This is not an illegitimate concern. Indeed, Massachusetts legislators acknowledged as much, when they passed a 1998 law exempting women’s gyms from the state’s public-accommodations law. Normally there is no justification for discrimination by sex or gender. But it is only common sense that bathrooms, showers, waxing salons, and other intimate environments require special sensitivity.

The gender-identity law jettisons that sensitivity. Voters, in response, should jettison the law

(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe).


MA Bishops, Cardinal O’Malley Cop-out on Transgender Bathroom Bill

November 5, 2018

Here it is, one day before election day, and Cardinal O’Malley, Boston Aux. Bishops Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell, and all of the MA bishops have completely caved and copped-out on voicing even a word of opposition to the transgender bathroom bill.  Not a peep! A good friend of BCI said yesterday that’s exactly what they would have expected, but BCI and other faithful Catholics are still mad.

It’s simple–there’s a ballot question people worked hard to get on the ballot that would reverse a law that says men can use women’s restrooms and locker rooms whenever they want.  The arguments against it are simple:

  • It’s bad for women. Even prominent homosexuals are coming out against it.  The first lesbian reinstated to the U.S. Army, Miriam Ben-Shalom, has come out against transgender bathrooms saying, “the current law regarding bathrooms in Massachusetts, which allows transgender people to use opposite-sex facilities, is not a matter of civil rights.” Instead, “it’s a matter of unspeakable oppression against females.” “Women and children should not be forced to deal with males in their spaces, whether it be locker rooms or bathrooms.”
  • It’s an issue of privacy and public safety.. Here is a link to a list of 26 bathroom incidents that have been in the news. The concern is not that transgendered individuals are more likely to be sexual predators, but rather that sexual predators could exploit such laws –and are already doing so today — by posing as transgendered in order to gain access to women and girls. The list of bathroom incidents includes 15 in the news since 2016 alone.
  • Under the law, any attempt to block a man from entering the women’s locker room, dressing room, or bathroom could result in individual penalties of up to $50,000 and a year in prison.
  • An analysis of 220 media-reported sexual offenses in Target stores found a  2.3X increase in the amount of “upskirt” incidents after they announced their transgender bathroom policy, and a 2.9X increase in peeping tom incidents after the policy.  See “Sexual Violence Reports in Target Spike After Transgender Bathroom Policy: Study
  • Businesses are also affected, like a female spa owner who faces a discrimination claim for declining to wax the genitals of a man identifying as a woman.
  • As described at VoteNoTo3.com, the pro-transgender movement is positioning a mental disorder as a civil right. And the cost to us is the loss of our rights. Transgenderism is not a civil right, but an uncivil wrong!
  • Transgenderism is not a unique form of self-expression, but a mental disorder that needs psychological treatment and our prayers.
  • Opponents of transgenderism are not crazy bigots, but sane and loving people who care about their families, faith, and freedom

Bishop O’Connell in a town hall meeting in Wakefield two weeks ago gave several different excuses for why the bishops weren’t speaking out–one excuse after another when the person questioning him on the matter explained why the bishop’s initial response was bogus.  As described by several people at the event, including the person who asked the question, first Bishop O’Connell said that sometimes if we’re winning on an issue, the bishops don’t speak out because it could backfire and cause opinions to change in an unfavorable way. The person who asked the question pointed out that we’re way behind, so that explanation was silly. Then he said the bishops don’t want to offend people.  The questioner said it sounded like he wasn’t concerned about people being led to mortal sin.  Then he said he personally wasn’t doing anything because he’s just a “soldier” and hasn’t been told to do anything. Based on his responses, BCI thinks he’s nothing but a wimp.  So is Cardinal O’Malley and so are all of the MA Catholic bishops.

Then there’s the matter of practically nothing done about the scandal at St. Ignatius in Chestnut Hill, where a letter was published in the parish bulletin encouraging parishioners to vote Yes on Question 3.  

Was the pastor fired?  No.  Was there a correction published in the parish bulletin to undo the damage done?  No.  The pastor is still there, and merely published a minor clarification buried several pages back where he still complimented the person who wrote the “beautiful” letter and merely clarified that the “Vote Yes on 3” message and logo was not necessarily expressing the opinion of the Catholic Church or Archdiocese of Boston.  Bishop Reed and Cardinal O’Malley should both resign — along with that pastor — for their complete abdication of episcopal responsibility,  tacit allowing of souls to be led to sin, and likely mortal sin, and  lack of courage to preach the gospel in-season and out of season.

Please pass this on to friends and family members in MA and urge them to vote No on Question 3.


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